Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

Super Moist BBQ Chicken

Today we’re talking about baking chicken breasts to moist, juicy perfection, smothering them in BBQ Sauce and consuming immediately! Are you ready for this deliciousness?

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Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

A well baked chicken breast is, in my opinion, hard to find. Even at the best restaurants it seems like chicken is kind of the implanted  “safe food” on the menu for the unadventurous and takes a back seat when it comes to quality preparation.

Well, not today friends. Today we’re talking about baking chicken breasts to moist, juicy perfection. And while we’re focusing on smothering it in BBQ sauce, this preparation can be used on just about any flavor chicken you can dream up. Just marinade, season, bake, and enjoy.

The key to this oven baked BBQ chicken is to start with bone-in, half chicken breasts. Boneless and skinless chicken has it’s place in the poultry kingdom, but not here. We want the bone because it keeps the meat from drying out and imparts excellent flavor. Since we’re smothering this chicken in BBQ sauce, I’m going to take the skin off but I often leave it on if I’m cooking it without a sauce. Leaving it on will naturally baste the chicken as it cooks and also crisps up nicely if you like that sort of thing. I’m kind of a skin hater so even if I leave it on to cook I rarely eat it.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

Next up is the marinade. I’m using a combo of olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika (for that smoky BBQ flavor) and minced garlic.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

Mix up the marinade and pour over the chicken in a ziplock bag. I clearly ran out of bags so I had to improvise and use a produce bag. It worked in a cinch but I won’t recommend you try it. Bones + thin plastic + ewwie chicken juice = a mess in my fridge. Just use a regular bag, please. I use a bag as opposed to a bowl because you don’t have to use very much marinade to cover the chicken and it seems to marinade more evenly.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

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Place the chicken in the fridge for at least and hour or up to overnight. Going much past 24 hours could result in some funny-textured chicken though. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place on a baking sheet. Season with liberally with kosher salt and pepper and pop in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

After 20 minutes your chicken will be about half-way done depending on the size of the breast. Brush each breast with your favorite BBQ sauce and return to the oven.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

Repeat the application of BBQ sauce to the chicken every 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Standard chicken breasts take a total of 35-40 minutes, so 4-5 brushings with the sauce should do ya. If you have a thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the breast and remove from the oven when it hits 165 degrees F.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

Taking the time to apply the sauce to the chicken at 5 minute intervals results in a deliciously sticky, glazed exterior that makes me want to lick my fingers just thinking about it.

Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |

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Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken

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  • 4, bone-in Chicken Breast Halves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 C favorite prepared BBQ sauce


  1. Remove skin from chicken breast halves and place in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Combine olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl and pour over chicken.
  3. Let chicken marinade for at least an hour, up to 24 in the fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Remove chicken from bag and place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes and brush a layer of BBQ sauce on the chicken. Return to the oven and repeat brushing with BBQ sauce every 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when read with a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast.


Super Moist Oven Baked BBQ Chicken |
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I’ve been meaning to get some smoked Paprika for another recipe I have. All I have in my cupboard is the sweet kind. I hate to buy an ingredient for just one recipe, so now this gives me a perfect excuse to finally pick some up.

I bought smoked paprika for the first time about a yr ago, I now use it on ribs, tuna salmon,potato salad, stews also, I use it sparingly as I can’t eat spicy food , thks for a great recipe site .

why because you have irritable bowel syndrome?im sure u spend about a half hour on the toilet afterwards. im sure your husband is just thrilled to hear what seems to be what sounds like a fourth string quartet coming from the toilet.

Well, in-your-face jerks will be in-your-face jerks no matter where they are. Jon obviously is covering for something extremely embarrassing. When he’s old enough to drive, I’m sure he’ll make daddy buy him a corvette to compensate for his lack in other areas.

Made this for dinner tonight. It was a HUGE hit with my family. I have a very picky 8 yr old and he loved it. Thank you so much!!

I made this tonight for dinner and my husband absolutely loved it!! The moistest BBQ chicken I have ever made! Thanks for a great recipe! I didn’t have smoked paprika so I substituted a smoky chicken seasoning I had on hand. I used Sonny’s sweet BBQ sauce. Devine!

YUM! I made this tonight and was pleasantly surprised!
I didn’t have the luxury of waiting at least one hour to
let the marinade sink in but the 30min I did have made
the chicken moist and tasty…can’t wait until I can let it
sit for 24hours! Thank You for the Delicious Recipe!

I use produce bags, reduce&reuse. When placing in frig, set bag in a pyrex pan to support bag and contain any unwanted mess 🙂

Reviewed&Rewrite, forgot to do that before my post. Yes, your right about the sharp bone part. I am using your great recipe for drumsticks. Thanks.

I found your recipe just by Googling for a baked BBQ chicken recipe…I needed to use what I had in the fridge. I even had to do it with boneless skinless chicken breast because that was all I had. And, it was awesome!! Flavor was awesome and it was so juicy! My kids ate all of theirs and my 4 year old had two more helpings of chicken! We had none left over. That never happens. Thank you so much for posting your recipe…I have found something that the whole family will eat and loves 🙂

Sara Reno
[email protected]

Oops…I didn’t mean to put my email on there for everyone to see…is there a way to take it off?? Thanks! Also, I had to use regular paprika because that is all this momma had and it still turned out yummy!

Im glad to read that because I plan on using regular paprika too and was a little worried it wouldnt come out the same lol

I am making this recipe with chicken legs. I let them marinade over night and they smelled sooooo good when I placed them on the cookie sheet! I only have about 20mins of basting left and I so can’t wait to try these bad boys.

Great recipe! I used boneless skinless chicken breasts and it was very moist (unlike my usual chewy offerings….) Thanks so much!

I have a couple of questions:
1. You say to put the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. But it looks like you have them on parchment paper. Should I use parchment paper?
2. Should I ever turn the chicken breasts over or should they always stay on the same side?
I’m anxious to try your recipe. Thanks for posting.

I wouldn’t suggest it. You next even heat all around the chicken to keep it moist and to help cook it evenly.

I just made this recipe using chicken breast and I was mindful of the cooling time to not dry it out and it turned out delicious. Thank you for the recipe;)

This sounds delish. I am trying now. However, will the recipe have just as much flavor if I leave in the fridge of a minimum of 1 hour?

Brushing the chicken with sauce every 5 minutes while cooking helps it to stick and caramelize. It’s all about the layering!

I didn’t find this until I was ready to cook and eat. So I skipped the marinade to save time and cooked the chicken the first half with the skin on. It came off very easily, but was extremely hot, so be careful. This seemed to work well to keep it moist. The second half of cooking I basted with sauce as recommended here and it turned out great!

I found this recipe through a Google search. I only had time to marinate it for one hour but it still came out tender, moist and delicious! Glad to have another recipe to add into my rotation. Definitely a keeper!

Could I freeze the chicken in this marinade? I made it and put it in the fridge this morning but my husband decided he would like something else for dinner! Ha! So I put the marinated chicken in the freezer. I would assume I can thaw overnight and cook as directed? Would that affect texture? I used drumsticks. Thanks!

You can absolutely freeze chicken in the marinade (in a zip lock bag) and thaw when you’re ready to cook it. This is a great way to take advantage of large family packs of chicken breasts which is usually a much better price per pound. Simply divide up the large package into individual meal-size zip lock bags. Put all the bags in the refrigerator to marinate for the desired amount of time. Then transfer the portions you’re not ready to cook to the freezer. (Note: The longer you leave it in the marinade before placing in the freezer, the more robust the flavor will be from the marinade. For example, if you marinate for 12-24 hours and then put in the freezer, the chicken will be more flavorful than if you place the chicken and marinade in the bag and freeze it immediately. But in a pinch, freezing immediately also works pretty well.)

Possibly the best chicken breast I have ever had. I only had regular paprika, so I added 10 drops of liquid smoke to the marinade as well. Also, I only had limes so used lime juice. Marinaded ~2 hours. My breast were larger than pictured – did 25 minutes than 5 coatings of sauce.

This recipe is delicious! I have made it several times! Do you think it would work if I substituted Italian dressing for the BBQ sauce. I am looking for a baked Italian chicken recipe and can’t find one I like.

I have not tried using Italian dressing in place of BBQ sauce, although I can highly recommend using it as a marinade for chicken. Years ago, there was a restaurant in my city that had a wonderful grilled chicken breast – the secret ingredient was an Italian dressing marinade. The restaurant has been gone for a long time, but the whole family still loves that chicken.

I know this is from several months ago, but I personally use Italian dressing sometimes. I like variety in my cooking and you can use almost any salad dressing or sauce. You just oil the pan and chicken, put the dressing or sauce over it (I use a deep pan like a cake pan or loaf pan). Every 10 minutes or so shake it a little to respread the sauce. I cook it at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. So delicious! Oh and sometimes I turn the chicken over for an extra 5 minutes or so. (I only ever use skinless boneless chicken)

This was AWESOME! The chicken was so moist, and tender! Only had an hour and a half to marinate. Will definitely use this recipe again. 🙂
Thank You

i can’t wait to make this chicken recipe!! We’re having a cookout and my husband doesn’t want to be slaving over the grill for hours….so I’m making this recipe right in the over and I’ll serve it with everything else! Thank you! I love your website…it’s the best!

If you put the potatoes on the bottom rack, you probably shouldn’t have to adjust the time much. Both the potatoes and meat should take about the same about of time. Good luck!

Amazing and simple. Just had regular skinless/boneless chicken breast and subbed lime for lemon. I’d like to try it with bone-in chicken.

Today was the second time I made this recipe for my family. I made it two weeks ago and they loved it and asked me to make it for them again. Thanks!

I’ve made this several times now for my family and no matter how many chicken breasts I make, it’s never enough! Delicious recipe 🙂

Made this and it was perfect! I didn’t have smoked paprika but I added a Lil liquid smoke. Thank goodness you popped up on Google! Best bbq chicken I’ve ever made

I tried this recipe. My husband unexpectedly was stuck in traffic for an extra hour so it sat in the oven on 170 degrees after cooking at 350 for an hour. So 2 hours later (!) he makes it home and I’m ready to cook some pasta because, come on – two hours in the oven!?! Right? It was moist, it was tender, it was TERRIFIC! Thanks for a super chicken recipe! Yum!

This turned out fantastic. I substituted cayenne pepper for the smoked paprika, which I had run out of. Although it gave it a nice kick, I will use the paprika when I make it again. I marinated it for about 3 hours before applying the first coat of BBQ and placing it in the oven. The garlic and pepper flavors really made their way through. I did overcook it a little in the center, but the chicken oozed flavored and was still very moist when done.

I have made this 3+ times. Super easy and very good. I usually start marinating it late in the afternoon and if we decide to have something else it is ready to go the next day.

I was browsing recipes for BBQ chicken and found this I was lucky I had all the ingredients. I followed the recipe and it was delicious. I think it would be good with any type of chicken. It was moist and very flavorful. cant wait for more from your website

Hi I was just wondering if this recipe would still work without lime juice and instead of gloved garlic. Minced Garlic? I plan on making it for my family tonight just wanted to make sure it would still be okay.

hey heather i’m trying to become a chief some day im just know finishing up high school so i can go to culinary arts school here in portland oregon. but any ways your BBQ chicken was crazzy good and making it again for the second time but this time with chicken leggs. and the sweet kind of peperica

I’ve never left a comment on recipes. But the chicken was amazing. It was so tender and had such great flavor. My family raved about it.

I found this on Pinterest and made it for dinner tonight. It was delicious and my family loves it. Sadly there were no leftovers 🙂 Thank you for sharing this recipie!

You can enter the recipe into an online nutrition calculator to find out. There are lots of them if you search google!

Hi I was just wondering if this recipe would still work without lime juice and instead of gloved garlic. Minced Garlic? I plan on making it for my family tonight just wanted to make sure it would still be okay.

Lime juice will work, it will just have a bit of a different taste– shouldn’t be too different though! if you mean dried minced garlic vs. fresh you can use either. You’ll need much less of the dried minced– try 1/2-1 teaspoon max since the dried is so much more concentrated. And, if you’re using granulated garlic or garlic powder you’ll need even less. 🙂

It can be left out and still turn out but you’ll be missing some acidity that give it good flavor. You can add just a splash of vinegar to give it that acidity– try just a couple teaspoons as you don’t want it to be too vinegary. Good luck!

Wow! Wow! Wow! This was so good! What a great find! We’ll be eating this again and again and again…. Thanks so much! 🙂

I would use chili powder. Cayenne will make it to spicy. You’ll miss some of the smoky flavor but it will still taste great!

Grilling would be great! You can cook it just the same, putting the BBQ sauce on at the end like the recipe says. Yum!

Wow, this was so delicious. I only had time to marinade for a couple of hours, bought the boneless breasts and it was still so moist and delicious. It’s worth it to buy a meat thermometer so that your meat doesn’t dry out. Think I’ll try them grilled, also. Thank you, this is a keeper!

Will regular paprika vs smoked paprika make a difference? And bottled lemon juice vs fresh? And lastly crushed garlic vs minced?

The only difference in the paprika will be the smoky flavor and will be fine. I try to stay away from bottled lemon juice at all costs but will do in a pinch. I just don’t like the flavor. As for garlic, crushed garlic can be used just fine, you may just need less as it might be a bit more potent.

Made this chicken tonight and it was delicious! I marinated this overnight, and despite the fact that mine took longer to cook (50 – 60 minutes), it was super moist as advertised. Great recipe!

Used boneless chicken breast and this recipe still came out fantastic! Going to be on the weekly menu, thanks for a great recipe!

The recipe calls for half chicken breasts. The breasts I buy are split breasts so do you then take the split breast and cut in half crosswise?
Thanks and I will try they sound delicious!

I grew up on a lot of bbq chicken recipes. Just like macaroni and cheese, it seems like everyone in my family has their own way of preparing baked bbq chicken. This is my grandma Barb s recipe. I feature a lot of her down home, tried and true recipe son this site, like her fluffy yeast rolls, moist cream cheese pound cake and cornbread dressing to name  few. They never disappoint which is why I ve been begging her to create a cookbook.

Hi! I’ve been reading your site for a long time now and finally got
the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from
Houston Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

Hi Heather,

Could not tell whether you removed the skin before cooking, or left it on? Sounds like you cooked it open on the baking sheet, and did not use foil at all?

Thanks! 🙂


Excellent advice Heather! We usually don’t bake chicken breasts alone, since most of the time they turn out dry, like you mentioned. Covering those with the sauce every 5 minutes will make sure we won’t end up with dry meat. And we LOVE smoked paprika and dry garlic, so YES to that!:)
Thank you for the wonderful idea!
Panos and Mirella

This looks Amazing, and in the process of making, did anyone cover the pan with foil or was it baked uncovered?


I’m cooking this right now. My husband is using My Fitness Pal. Do you know how many calories one large chicken breast would be with this sauce?

This is my go to BBQ chicken recipe whenever I have thighs. It works for breast too, you just have to change the cooking time. Sometimes I add more seasonings or use a lime instead and it always comes out GREAT!!
Thanks for the recipe!

I see you also enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces!
You should try the mustard bbq sauce. It has a great flavor and goes well with chicken and pork. I was skeptical about the mustard content at first, but it is delicious!

Came out great, I cooked it a little longer mainly because I like my chicken almost over cooked, but didn’t really seem to dry it out. Last basting cranked it to broil for 1-1.5mins on each side and it gave it a nice crisp/caramelization on the outside, just have to keep an eye on it to make sure not to burn..